Wuthering Heights is a wild, passionate story of the intense and almost demonic love between Catherine Earnshaw and Heathcliff, a foundling adopted by Catherine’s father. After Mr Earnshaw’s death, Heathcliff is bullied and humiliated by Catherine’s brother Hindley and wrongly believing that his love for Catherine is not reciprocated, leaves Wuthering Heights, only to return years later as a wealthy and polished man. He proceeds to exact a terrible revenge for his former miseries. The action of the story is chaotic and unremittingly violent, but the accomplished handling of a complex structure, the evocative descriptions of the lonely moorland setting and the poetic grandeur of vision combine to make this unique novel a masterpiece of English literature.
I’ve been taking part in the 2016 Classics Challenge, hosted by Stacey of The Pretty Books. I was planning to read a book a month, and though that’s not quite worked out (too many other shiny new books!), I have managed to read and review:
For my penultimate classic of the year, I reread Wuthering Heights.
I’m using the Classics Challenge to explore Gothic classics — read more about that here.
WHEN I discovered this classic
Who hasn’t heard of Wuthering Heights? I first studied it in sixth form, then again at uni, and I couldn’t count how many times I read and reread it over those few years.
WHY I chose to read it
For all the times I read Wuthering Heights in the past I don’t remember ever getting bored of it, and since it’s been at least ten years since my last read I thought it time to revisit. Though I couldn’t remember all the intricacies of the plot, I remembered it being very dramatic and pretty fast paced.
WHAT makes it a classic?
Where to begin? It’s hugely passionate and intense, especially for a Victorian novel, and is often considered one of the greatest love stories. It’s amazing that it was Emily Brontë’s first (and only) novel, written in her twenties, especially as Emily lived a pretty isolated and undramatic life herself. All of the Brontë sisters have been mythologised, but Emily perhaps most of all.
WHAT I thought of this classic
I really enjoyed my reread. Lines of text would jump out of me as being really familiar, no doubt from all my essay-quoting in my student days. At the same time, there was lots I’d forgotten. Wuthering Heights is most famous for Heathcliff and Catherine’s relationship, and I’d forgotten quite how tumultuous and nasty it often is, and how unlikeable both characters can be! I also hadn’t remembered much about the second half of the novel and its various characters.
WILL it stay a classic?
WHO I’d recommend it to
Anyone who hasn’t read it! It’s such a famous book, and it’s not that long a read (for a Victorian novel).
For my last Gothic classic of the year, I’m planning to read Lady Audley’s Secret, which is described as a ‘sensation novel’ and sounds like it should be fun.
Have you read Wuthering Heights? What did you think?